Olivier Suire Verley was born October 2, 1952 in La Rochelle (on the Atlantic coast of France, a historic site of religious war between Protestants and Roman Catholics in the XVIIth century) to a family of artists. His grandfather Louis Suire was a renowned painter (Oliver added his mother’s maiden name, Verley to his father’s name so as not to be confused with his grandfather, whom he cherished and admired) and his father Claude (now retired) was a publisher of art books and is an amateur painter himself.

Olivier studied in La Rochelle first, then in Tours with Jean Abadie. Moving to Paris, he also studied etching with Pierre Gandon, Albert Decaris and Caillevaert Brun. Of a surrealistic tendency, the themes of his paintings of the time were based upon evasion from reality, fantastic travels and the sea. During that period, the colors in his palette were dark and melancholic. He illustrated texts by Cliford Simac and Assimov for the publisher Louis Pauwels.

1982 marked a profound change in Olivier’s inspiration: as by a refining process, it turned to become a quest for the essentiality in life, leading the artist to discover the salutary power of color. From that time onwards, his themes also changed; landscapes, still-lifes, portraits and again, the ever-present sea — the sea of Île de Ré — a small island off La Rochelle. He left Paris definitively and settled on that island, where he lives and works today.

Since then, his inspiration has drawn first from the colors of the holiday season in Île de Ré and on the Atlantic coast of France; then from those of Paris streets in winter or at night, and more recently from the light of Morocco and Spain. Today, Olivier seeks to meditate again on evasion, the elsewhere of our dreams, of our regrets sometimes, and of our hopes forever.

Always looking for new lights, Olivier travels often: Italy (Rome, Venice), Morocco, Spain, Egypt, Mauritius...

He shows throughout France, in China, Japan and, in the United States, exclusively at the Addison Art Gallery. His work is featured multiple books and films.

Artist's Statement

Helen and I have been working together for twelve years now, at the rhythm of one one-man show every other year.  This is already our twelfth anniversary, our seventh show. Time passes so quickly!

I am an optimistic anxious, and I try to perceive the beautiful side of things, without becoming angelic.

I hope this exhibition will be as lively and full of spontaneity as the previous six !

My first inspiration remains the human being and its environment, its connivance; small scenes of life become exceptional if one knows how to pay attention to them. Fleeting lights and movement, dynamics, our hesitations that give a meaning to life.

Often my inspiration comes from situations, or occurs at totally unexpected moments. It's like a thunderbolt. Nothing prepares you for it, there is no rule; a meeting, a conversation, a book, a landscape, a woman, or even a bit of nostalgia.

I love Helen Addison’s Gallery. The eclecticism of Helen's choices, the friendliness of her collector friends, their loyalty and courage to open themselves to less conventional art forms.

I too live on a coast: that of an Atlantic island, Île de Ré; its charms, for those who know, could be confused with those of Cape Cod. Light, sand dunes, that "islander" character imposed on us by geography, that seafarers’ solidarity, and the endless sky that opens heart and mind.

It was with excitement mingled with apprehension that I came to the Cape for the first time in 2005, at Helen Addison’s invitation, to show my work to her many collectors — or should I say friends, since Helen has the rare gift to make her clients feel at home in her Gallery.

I was overwhelmed with joy by the warm welcome my wife Anne-Marie, my long-time friend and agent Jean-Philippe Ricard, and myself received here —not to mention the added pleasure to see my paintings appreciated (and bought!) by many connoisseurs.

Today, I feel the same excitement as this seventh show is approaching! It is always a great joy for an artist, even for seasoned one, to meet the understanding of new people, as if making new friends; this is particularly true for me with the American people, thanks to Helen Addison’s dedicated energy.

• About his beloved Île de Ré:

For many a visitor, the name “Ile de Ré” brings up visions of clear, watery colors; on the contrary, I see in these sceneries of sea and rural landscapes some very strong contrasts between the exuberant greens of the vegetation, the blue limpidity of the skies, and the brownish yellowness of the rocky paths: all these violent tonalities splash my face like sprays sequined by salt. Clusters of salt marshes at the sharp northwest end of the island remain one of my preferred themes of paintings; nearly abandoned nowadays, they provide an ideal shelter for migratory birds. Water canals form with the marshes a patchwork of mirrors separated by stretches of dry earth and parched grass.

When one imagines Olivier's paintings, it immediately brings to mind the true meaning of the French phrase, “joie de vivre.” Spanning the world from Morocco to Rome, Egypt to Venice, Mr. Verley's works inspire and capture the essence of his subjects, be it horses and their Moroccan riders going full gallop across the plains or a farmer captured in a field of ruby drenched poppies. His paintings have the capacity to energize and evoke feelings of desiring to be there...in that place, experiencing all the possibilities of life. — Tom and Trish O'Connor


Watch a three part documentary of Verley at work


Read reviews and articles about Verley

The reflections of life through his eyes are wonderful images to live with. We believe him to be an exquisite colorist. Our thoughts and eyes are always drawn by his sense of flowing colored layers of abstraction that both pull and shift the focus of the work: patterns overlaid onto a subject become their own quilt and can lift, focus and deepen our mood. The composition is in itself one layer of many and transports the viewer to other places. We love Olivier's variety of color, light and mood that compound the skill of his work. It is always exciting to visit the layered-spaces that he inhabits and we look forward to his continued progress through the world abstract of pattern, color and light embodied in his paintings. — Keith Carvounis & Barbara Braman

Olivier Suire Verley's paintings appeal to me on many levels. His work captures a pulsating vibrancy in the midst of order and calm. No matter his subject, there is a fluid energy running through all of Verley's paintings that bring them alive. His palette is always pure, his colors lively with a dash of unexpected brilliance. His splash of flaming scarlet or blazing orange draws the eye to the extraordinary in the ordinary. Verley's paintings also have the remarkable ability to transcend. They allow the viewer a thrilling journey into "time and place" to glimpse the delightful world that Mr. Verley inhabits. — Cynthia Mohr

AddisonArt surprised us several years ago with the introduction of Olivier Suire Verley to the American art world. The unassuming French artist is unsurpassed when it comes to color and, above all, movement of people and animals in his beach, market scenes and landscapes.We could not resist his field of poppies blowing in the wind in Provence and consider it our best acquisition to date.— Mieke and Ad Vos

Each time I look at Verley's painting I see something new. The energetic strokes of the brush, the choice and placement of the colors on the canvas, all work together to create a kind of rhythm and harmony. Like listening to my favorite symphony by Brahms over and over, I get endless enjoyment from Olivier Suire Verley's painting. It is a treasure! — Amy Ford

"Often, a painting sets a face, a landscape, but the result seems frozen, dead. Olivier’s painting is alive, always in motion, it tells you stories for which one can imagine a purpose and an end. But Olivier does not rest on his talent, he refuses ease. He, too, moves, questions, doubts, and ; over time, his painting evolves, strenghtens itself, and his style bursts out. “The style is the man” : Olivier, you have style, elegance, strength. You are an artist, a true one!” Jean Becker, Film Director